I pray ...
Thank you for finally putting this scourge onto the CL agenda ("Faces of meth," July 21). Since 1998, when my partner died after being up for 12 days, I have been on a soap box speaking out against the use of crank, Tina, speed, ice, meth, crystal, ad nauseum. People tend to clump this drug in with other drugs, but I don't know of any other drug that contains drain cleaner, lye and acetone. It is the scourge of our state, the South, our country, our society.
I firmly believe the elimination of off-the-shelf cold medications may help; it IS a start that the over-the-counter cold remedies are now actually obtained "over-the-counter."
The thing I have learned about the drug is that no one, and I mean no one, says anything to the friend while they are on their downward spiral into the Tina world. It's a silent killer. Most people don't even know you are using it.
I am ashamed of ourselves that, as a gay community that is just now making a start for itself in society, we are sabotaging our own acceptance by engaging in the use of this specific drug. I am saddened that people feel the need to shove drain cleaner up their noses for a high. To me, that's obscene and abhorrent.
I pray others will read your excellent article and realize the absurdity of crystal meth. I pray for the folks who are caught in its clutches. I pray for James, my dead partner.
-- Nych Hynes, Atlanta
I didn't say it
As a native of Neshoba County, Miss., I closely followed the trial of Edgar Ray Killen and the ensuing discussions of race relations in Mississippi. I was surprised and disappointed to read the June 29 article in Creative Loafing, "Racial healing in Mississippi," which quotes me as saying, "race is no longer a factor" in Mississippi.
I do not recall the author of the article ever interviewing me. One night in March, I did join a group of people, including two from Creative Loafing, for dinner and a free-ranging conversation on the status of politics and policy in Mississippi and nationally. It was made clear by the staff of Creative Loafing that this was an off-the-record discussion for background purposes only to help the staff of Creative Loafing learn more about a Republican perspective of Mississippi politics. It is disappointing that Mr. Sugg decided to break with journalistic standards and report one part of a nearly three-hour conversation out of context.
More importantly, not only did I not say what was ascribed to me, I do not agree with it. What I have said in other conversations, and which I likely said that evening more than three months ago, is that race is no longer the single, paramount issue in Mississippi politics as it was in the 1960s. Is it still an issue? Yes. But it is not the only issue. Unlike 40 years ago, political debate in Mississippi now centers on job creation, education, health care, taxing and spending. While there are disagreements as to the best approaches to these issues, these healthy discussions are most often the result of differing philosophy, not race.
For reasons both good and bad, race is still a factor in Mississippi politics and policy-making, as it is across the nation. Unfortunately, there are some, white and black, who continue to see all issues through a racial prism and there are others who seek to inflame passions by injecting race into an issue when no racial issue exists. But most importantly, race is a factor since African-American children are more likely to be trapped in a failing school, African-American men and women suffer from chronic diseases at a disproportionately high rate, and African-Americas are more likely to be unemployed.
-- Jim Perry, Jackson, Miss.
John Sugg responds: Jim Perry fails to identify himself as the policy chief for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. His comments should be viewed in that context. The March dinner he mentions was attended by another Barbour aide, John Arledge, and by Barbour's nephew, Henry Barbour. All three discussed at length their view that race was no longer a critical issue in Mississippi politics. I openly took notes during the dinner, and the comments weren't off the record. For more on this letter, see www.johnsugg.com.
Choking out the creativity
Thank you so much for your opinions on the National Black Arts Festival (Arts, July 14). Please keep the dialogue going on this matter. The "safe bet" condition seems to be a growing virus of epidemic potential. The younger-generation artists who consequently aren't that young but those of us who invested our monies and time into art schools and universities in Georgia and simultaneously pursued degrees and careers in art are increasingly disappointed.
It's actually quite sad. I feel that those younger people who are affiliated with NBAF are definitely trying, but you get the sense that there is something in their way. African-American artists have many interests and a diverse assortment of aesthetic influences that range from contemporary traditional art to speculative fiction.
We are publishing comic books and writing science fiction novels. We are influenced by graffiti and digital art, ecology, politics and social criticism. There are lots of exciting, cutting-edge things going on that are going unnoticed. It almost seems like the easy way out is to, just like you said, go for what you know.
I think that the focus on Atlanta being cataloged by the history books as a "real live metropolitan city" is choking the creativity out of it. I think that the city becomes great when that wonderful additive called freedom is allowed to prosper.
There is so much talent here, I just hope we don't miss out by missing the talent sitting squarely in front of us!
-- Iyabo Shabazz, College Park
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